Brazil Transport




Brazil Transport 

  • Roadways: Roadways are the most common mode of transportation. Roadways account for more than half of the country's transportation system. However, the density of the road network is concentrated in the country's east. The forested lands of Amazon River basin and the swampy lands have limited the development of roadways in this part.
  • Waterways: In the Amazon River, commercial waterways have been developed. Boats travel from Equitos, Peru, to the river's mouth. These waterways can be used to navigate the world's longest rivers (around 3700 kms). The south-flowing Parana River is also important for waterways. Coastal shipping is also carried out in the coastal areas. 
  • Railways: Railways in Brazil have not developed well. The use of trains for long-distance passenger transportation is limited to a few urban tourist routes, despite the fact that it is less expensive.
  • Airways: The contribution of airways to the transportation system of country is minimal.


Considering the development of transport in a place, which factors do you think are responsible for the development of transport in Brazil? Also, think which means of transport could be used in Brazil given its topography and drainage?

The transport system is the service by which persons and goods move from one place to the other using humans, animals or vehicles. Transport system establishes the links between producing centres and consuming centres. Transport provides the link through which trade takes place. The transport system also acts as an artery for communication within the nation and among the nations. The principal modes of transportation are land ways, waterways, airways and through pipelines. To be established as a major trading centre, the country must have a well-connected transit network. The integrated operation of all the means of transportation is essential for its effective functioning. Thus the development of transport is very important for a country’s progress.

The most common method of transportation in Brazil is the roadways. Most of the country's transportation requirements are fulfilled by the roadways. But the density of the road network is more in the eastern part. Brazil has the potential to be the country using waterways as an important means of transportation. Sea transportation is mostly used in Brazil and inland river transportation is not highly utilised. Inland river transportation network is only 13% of the total transportation network in Brazil. The waterways are not highly developed especially in the interior regions because of the occurrence of many waterfalls and the difficulty in navigation in these areas having strong currents. Also, these areas are far from the other major centres making their development highly uneconomical.

Rail transport started in Brazil from the 19th century. Still, the most common means of transportation in Brazil is the roadways or waterways. The extent of railways in much smaller in Brazil. It is nearly five times smaller than the extent of roadways in Brazil. The density of the rail network is concentrated in the eastern part of the country. The internal region is actually devoid of the rail network. There are many difficulties in the development of the rail network in the internal areas. The dense, impenetrable Amazon forests and the vast tributaries that form the Amazon basin are the main reason for the lack of a rail network in the internal regions compared to the eastern side of the country. Some areas may be defined by certain tribal groups. The acquisition of land for commencing rail network is also a big issue. The use of the rail network for transportation is highly restricted in the country.

Thus, the development of roadways and waterways is the main modes of transportation that could be used in Brazil given its topography and drainage.


Study the transport map of Brazil in Fig and answer the following questions:

  1. Which means of transport are seen on the map?
  2. Which means of transport has a denser network?
  3. Which highway can be seen prominently? Which places does it join?
  4. What could be the reason of development of railways in the South-East?
  5. In which part of Brazil do you see a lesser development of transport network ? What could be the reason?
  1. All the means of transport like roadways, railways, airways, and waterways are seen on the map.
  2. The roadways have a denser network.
  3. The Trans Amazonian Highway can be seen prominently. It connects Cruzeiro do sul, Porto Velho, Manaus and Brasilia.

  4. South-east Brazil is the richest and the most populated region of the country. Agriculture, mining, and tourism are well developed in this part of Brazil.
  5. Amazon in the north and Pantanal in the west have lesser development of transport network. Amazon in the north due to dense forest cover whereas Pantanal is a swampy land.

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